Chennai Storytelling Festival 2013 --

Teaching-and-Learning about Storytelling


presented by

World Storytelling Institute, 

Indian Storytelling Network

Chennai Storytelling Association


Goethe Institute, Chennai .



Festival Mission


This Festival is primarily dedicated to Teaching-and-Learning about Storytelling.  Our mission is to facilitate Storytelling-related training in many fields, to help Chennai further contribute to the global Storytelling Revival.



Festival Dates and Venue


Feb 1-3 (Friday-Sunday) 2013.

Goethe Institute, Rutland Gate 5th Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai.

Free Admission (contribution for optional tea and lunch).

Please register for individual sessions, or for the entire three days (Certificate given by WSI), by e-mailing to , or by calling 98403 94282.


Feb 4-7 (Monday-Thursday).

Field-Trip: "Storytelling Workshop in the Countryside", Thanjavur.

Details below.





The Festival Director is Eric Miller (originally from New York City,

now settled in Chennai), .


The Festival Coordinators and Advisory Board Members are:

1) Sandhya Ruban (Soft-skills Training).

2) Asha Sampath (Education).

3) Uma Balu (Translation, Tourism).

4) Magdalene Jeyarathnam (Counselling).

5) Sudha Umashankar (Journalist, Writer of Children's Stories).

6) Mohana Priya S (Management Consulting).





The Festival's Six Teaching-and-Learning Sessions are


Day 1 --

1) "Keynote session: Storytelling in the World Today".

2) "Storytelling and Business".


Day 2 --

3) "Storytelling and Child Development" (on Emotional, Social, Linguistic, and Physical levels).

4) "Storytelling and Tourism".


Day 3 --

5) "Storytelling and Therapy/Healing/Counselling/Coaching".

6) "Storytelling and Education" (teaching Ecology and Languages).





Festival Schedule



DAY 1__Friday 1 Feb --



"Keynote session: Storytelling in the World Today".

Numerous speakers, including

*** Kamini Ramachandran (based in Singapore):

Artistic Director, Singapore International Storytelling Festival.

Founding Member and Vice President, Storytelling Association (Singapore).

Co-Founder/Director, Moonshadow Stories.



"Storytelling and Business".

*** Eric Miller, .

*** Sandhya Ruban.
*** Sudha Umashankar.

*** Mohana Priya S.



Storytelling Performances.

On the need to be considerate of others and to nurture civic society.

Kamini Ramachandran, ,

and others.





DAY 2__Saturday 2 Feb --



"Storytelling and Child Development".

A) Storytelling and Dance/Movement/Gesture:

*** 10-10:45am__Mrinalini Sekar.

*** 10:45-11:30am__Anita Ratnam.

B) Storytelling and Social Emotional Learning:

*** 11:30am-12:15pm__Sowmya Srinivasan and Aparna Athreya, Kid and Parent Foundation, (based in Bangalore).

C) Storytelling and Phonics (for Literacy):

*** 12:15-1pm__Sheetal Rayathatha.



"Storytelling and Tourism".

*** Storytrails.

*** Eco-login.

*** Acoustic Traditional.

*** Places of Kannagi Tour.


Then we would go to the Marina Beach area--


"Storytelling by the Sea":

Storytelling, Drama ("The Sea Story"), and Songs, with members of Chennai's sea-fishing communities (in Tamil, with English translation).





DAY 3__Sunday 3 Feb --



"Storytelling and Therapy/Healing/Counselling/Coaching".

*** Magdalene Jeyarathnam and the East-West Center for Counselling team.



"Storytelling and Education" (teaching Ecology, and Languages).

A) Storytelling and Teaching Ecology --

*** 2-2:45pm__Geeta Ramanujam, Kathalaya (based in Bangalore).

*** 2:45-3:30pm__Usha Venkatraman, Puppet Wonders (based in Mumbai).

B) Storytelling and Teaching Languages --
*** 3:30-5pm__Uma Balu.



Storytelling Performances, and Closing Words.





The Festival would utilise a unique format:


Each session would be composed of numerous Cycles:


A Cycle would consist of

1) Up-to-10-minutes of talk by the Cycle Leader(s).

2) Up-to-10-minutes of small-group activity (in groups of 2, 3, or 4),

with participants

___a) deliberating about a question with each other,

___b) telling stories to each other, or

___c) role-playing a scene together.

3) Up-to-10-minutes of whole-group discussion.


A number of Cycle Leaders might join us via videoconference (Skype and other).






Immediately following CSF2013, please join us for:


"A Storytelling Workshop in the Countryside" (Feb 4-7)


The Festival in Chennai would be followed by a visit to the Thanjavur area for a Storytelling Workshop in the traditional Storytelling style known as Kathaiyum Paattum (Story and Song).


Our hosts would be scholars related to the Folklore Dept of Tamil University, and a number of the (especially women) Storytellers they have been working with over the years. Translation would be available (Tamil-English, etc).


Our Storytelling teachers would tell us "Raja-Rani Kathai" ("King-Queen Stories"), and "Paati Kathai" ("Grandmother Stories"), about strong and clever women, especially Kannagi of Silappathikaram (the Epic of the Anklet).


We would learn how to tell these local stories, and any stories,  in the Story and Song style (in Tamil and English). 


Stories number 8-29, on pages 23-65 in , were told by women in the Thanjavur Storytelling community we would be visiting.


Story and Song is a great treasure of Tamil Storytelling.  It involves speaking a story, and occasionally breaking into song: sometimes the narrator sings about the story; and sometimes characters sing their thoughts.  Story and Song is so "grass-roots" that it is often not noticed by people who are not themselves engaging in the activity.  It is a classic "under-the-radar" activity (not high enough to be noticed), because it is a primarily a domestic, non-professional art and craft, often a part of child-rearing.


Equivalents of Story and Song are practiced throughout much of the African-Indian-Pacific region of the world.




Mon 4 Feb --

In Evening, board bus in Nungambakkam, Chennai.


Tues 5 Feb --

In Morning, arrive in Thanjavur.

Settle into hotel.

Meet local Storytellers.

Guided Tour of local landscapes -- Agriculture (Marutam) and Pasture (Mullai) lands.

Story and Song Storytelling Workshop begins.


Wed 6 Feb --

Vacate hotel.

Workshop continues.

In Late Afternoon: Story and Song Storytelling Performance

for Family, Friends, and School Children.

In Evening, board bus.


Thurs 7 Feb --

In Morning, arrive in Nungambakkam, Chennai.


The cost per person for this Field-Trip is Rs 5,500.  This would pay for: 1) food,  2) transportation, 3) a hotel room in Thanjavur for one night (double occupancy), and 4) the Storytelling teachers in Thanjavur.



Dr Eric Miller,  Director, World Storytelling Institute

98403 94282